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Jun152010

1928 - "A Hidden Saint"

On January 12, just a few days after school reopened, the pupils’ retreat began. It was conducted by a Marist father, Reverend William Dwyer. He had given retreat to the Sisters during the past summer. Father Dwyer won the hearts of the children by his extraordinary love and devotion to our Blessed Lady. Through a portrayal of the ideal love of a child for its own human mother, he led the young souls to realize the depth and beauty of a true devotion to Mary.

The New Year opened with a visit of a priest which was followed soon by several other visits from outsiders. The diocesan school superintendent was the guest of Msgr. Cassidy for two days, and during his time, he acquainted himself with the work of the Sisters in school—the school plan, periods of instruction, etc. He was very favorably impressed with the work and was not sparing in his praise of it. His visit was followed by that of Mr. Reed from the University at Lincoln, Nebr., who came to inspect the building.

Sr. Rolanda's father, Mr. Bonnes, of Buffalo, N. Y. sent a gift of $200.00 to be used to furnish the new community room in the new wing. An additional fund for the new building was presented by the students who put on a play and realized a neat sum. By April, work on the new wing was advancing rapidly and before Easter part of it could be occupied. Before the building was given over by the contractors, the architect inspected it and pronounced it very satisfactory.

The six weeks after Easter until Commencement, at the end of May, flew by rapidly, and on June 1, 13 young ladies went out from St. Mary's as graduates.

On June 4 retreat opened for the Sisters. Reverend Father Markus, 0. F. M., was the retreat master. This was the last retreat for our dear old Mother Euphrasia.  Although so old and infirm, she took part in most of the spiritual exercises of the community. Her thoughts and her whole being were occupied with the things of eternity. A life of labor in the service of the Lord, a life of prayer and sincerest piety was recorded to her credit. Her beautiful life of intense love of God was now to end here but to be taken up again hereafter in the better world and to last for all eternity. Sr. Euphrasia Edelbrock had come to America during the German Kulturkampf or (struggle for culture) and was given charge of the diocesan Orphanage at Columbus, Ohio by Right Reverend Bishop Rosecrans. For thirty years she labored there as superior, and when the burden grew too heavy for her, owing to her broken down health, she still I tried to make herself useful to the community by little insignificant deeds of love and charity.  Countless stitches are required to make a stocking, but she sat patiently day after day, bent over her knitting, as long as her strength lasted, knitting new feet on stockings for Sisters who were too busy to do so for themselves. Sr. Euphrasia was an example of true virtue and the true religious spirit. She was deeply absorbed in God and turned every conversation back to Him. Every event and action was connected with His divine Providence. As she was extremely punctual in the exercises of the community, so was she also extra ordinarily exact in the observance of the Holy Rule and the Handbook.

Her memory became very week, and it was often noticed that she was saying her Office a second time. If someone reminded her that she had already prayed it with the community, she would lay breviary aside, and take up her rosary. She spent hours before the Blessed Sacrament praying her rosary, cross prayer, or other prayers. Her eyes were fixed on the Tabernacle as one in ecstasy, for there dwelt her beloved whom she loved and honored with her entire being. Especially touching was her child-like humble obedience to the superior or her assistants. The cause of her death and the last weeks before her death were unusually pathetic. About a week after the close of the Sisters' retreat, she made a misstep, coming from a room one step higher than the corridor, and suffered a hard fall before an approaching Sister could reach her and save her. The doctor who was called immediately found that her hip was broken, and the days following were full of anguish for the patient sufferer. For three weeks in intense summer heat, she suffered untold agony, and on July 15, gave her beautiful soul back into the hands of her Creator. Father Cassidy spoke sincerely and feelingly about the dear departed soul. He said among other things, "Sr. Euphrasia was a hidden saint. She spent her last years in constant prayer—prayer for all of you and for me.'' She was little known outside the community, but known and loved all the more by her Divine Spouse Whom she had loved and served so many years.

One week after our then small community had laid Sr. Euphrasia to rest, Silver Jubilee bells rang for two of our I Sisters, Sr. Eleanor Schlarb and Sr. Herlindis Leinbarger.  On July 25 they celebrated their Silver Jubilee of profession. Twenty-five little girls in white wearing silver wreathes, led the two jubilarians into the chapel for a solemn High Mass. Many friends and benefactors were present at the celebration.

Our community was small as six of our Sisters were attending Summer School.  Sr. Dolores and Sr. Humiliata were at the Catholic University at Washington, D. C. Sr. Remigia and Sr. Roberta at Creighton University, Sr. Etheldreda at Canisius College, Buffalo for a special course in physics, and Sr. Josaphat at Loretta Heights, Denver. Although we did not have many changes in our community, a sacrifice had to be made. Sr. Olinda Tewilt was transferred to Holy Rosary Mission and Sr. Loyola Miller replaced her here. When the Summer School students returned, another change was made. Sr. Remigia was transferred to Alliance and Sr. Serafia Strot came here to take her place.

School opened on September 4.  A few days later, Sr. Roberta received word to go to Havre, Montana. Sr. Marciena Strauss cane from Milo and took over all the work which had been done by Sr. Roberta, so that all went along smoothly as if no change had occurred.  Mother Justine's nameday was celebrated as usual. The congratulations and display of gifts took place for the first time in the new community room.

On October 3 Msgr. Cassidy celebrated his golden jubilee as a priest. Although it was intended to be only a semi-public affair, it turned out to be very solemn and official through the presence of the new Bishop of Omaha, His Excellency Most Reverend F. J. Rummell. Our students presented a stole of brocade and embroidered in gold by Sr. Eleanor. In the afternoon, a play—an allegory—was given in honor of the occasion. The Bishop and many priests were present. The making up of a spiritual bouquet for Msgr. Cassidy, acted out by our tiny tots, created much merriment and filled the hall with peals of laughter.

During the last week of October, the solemn enthronement of the Sacred Heart was carried out in the assembly. Father Leahy, our chaplain, had charge of the ceremonies. A beautiful statue of Christ the King was used in the enthronement .

On October 25, a concert was given by the Austrian trio, the Hilger sisters. The first played violin, the second piano, and the third cello. Their music was excellent and won great applause.

November is a short month, and the ten or twelve days occupied with state examinations and Thanksgiving vacation can scarcely be counted as school days. To make matters worse, these last days have to be made up before Christmas vacation. Our boarders banded together and raised a fund sufficient to establish a "crib" at St. James' Orphanage, Omaha, for one of the babies there; that is, they sent enough money to provide all the necessaries for one baby for one year.

The short weeks before Christmas are always overfilled with work. Our senior girls worked on the new lining for the tabernacle in church. The reception into the Sodality on September 8 took place as usual but with added solemnities and beauty. On December 21 the Christmas holidays began. A few boarders remained here. The health of the children during the year was good, with the exception of a few colds.

We now have 21 Sisters, ______boarders, one hired girl and one hired man. Grateful to God for all His favors during the past year, also for the crosses and sorrows, we kiss the loving hand of our heavenly Father and place ourselves in all confidence under His all wise leadership for the new year.

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